Center for World Indigenous Studies
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Obama Government and Africa’s Wars

Published: December 20, 2008, Author: MHirch

Change is in the air all over the world.  The Dalai Lama is going into semi-retirement leaving the political future of Tibet in the hands of 73 year-old Primer Minister Samdhong Rinpoche; creating a new opening for the Peoples’ Republic of China to negotiate political autonomy for Tibet. French government President Sarkosy has taken the lead as the head of the Europen Union this month to call for global decriminalization of homosexuality. The United States of America is in an economic tailspin dragging down economies world-wide; and the Barack Obama government in waiting is continuing its build-up to taking control over the United States and the world agenda on day-one–20 January 2009.

Before getting aboard the train of change that has clearly left the station, the Obama government must give substantial attention to cleaning up messes left by the Bush government and major obstacles to change created by mistakes made by governments during the colonial era and the “neo-colonial era.” The African continent has long been ignored by the world’s leading economic and military powers treating the long festering conflicts there as bothersome and requiring minimal attention if and only if the violence interferes with corporate or natural resource economic interests in Europe, Asia or North America. The Clinton and Bush administrations simply watched the crime of genocide explode in Rwanda, Burundi, Nigeria, Somalia and the Sudan

Most of the conflicts on the continent are a product of colonial decisions taken in the 19th and 20th centuries creating boundaries through traditional territories reflecting the strategic and economic interests of the colonizers and not the people on the ground.

A war rages in the western Sahara crying out for peaceful intervention:Mali/Niger wars against the Kel Tamasheq (speakers of Tamsheq) known to the outside world as the Tuareg or Amazigh–relatives of Berber peoples.  The boundaries of five northwestern African states cross through this nomadic people’s territory.  While peace agreements were hammered out in 1995 and 1996 the problems that created the conflict in the first place (colonial occupation) remain.  The Kel Tamasheq still want to rule themselves and not take directions and subjugation from others.  The solution for political self-determination among the Kel Tamasheq remains, as it has for decades, an agreement between Libya, Algeria, Mali, Niger and Burkino Faso with the heads of the Kel Tamasheq.

The United States government is best positioned (having no dog in this fight) to mediate a political solution that ends the conflicts between Kel Tamasheq and the various governments. President Elect Obama and his Secretary of State Hillary Clinton should immediately appoint a mediator and offer to facilitate an end to the conflict.

The conflict will only end if and when political self-determination is recognized for the Kel Tamasheq. Do not define the present conflict as “terroristic.” That will prevent resolution.

Use the effort in northwestern Africa among these five states as a basis for entering into the resolution of other conflicts in Namibia, Nigeria, Cameroons, Congo, Somalia, Sudan, Chad and Zimbabwe.

The African continent demands sustained and active attention to bind the wounds caused by colonialism and neo-colonialism. Tibet suffers from the same disease. The Igbo in Nigeria experience the same disease. There are more than 1300 distinct Fourth World nations on the African continent. They are the seed from which all humanity springs…they cannot anylonger be left to kill and be killed. The loss to humanity is too great.

Chief George Manuel Memorial Indigenous Library

The library is dedicated to the memory of Secwepemc Chief George Manuel (1921-1989), to the nations of the Fourth World and to the elders and generations to come.

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